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february 2013


run to!




Speaking From The Heart... DR. UZMA IQBAL & LEISHA DOHERTY w w w. s y r ac u s e wo m a n m ag . c o m

syracuseWomanMag.com :: february 2013



For patients who can’t have open heart surgery, TAVR is more than a procedure. It’s hope. For years, inoperable patients with aortic valve disease have had no other treatment options – until now. St. Joseph’s is proud to be the first and only Central New York hospital to provide hope in the form of the new Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure – a less invasive alternative to open heart valve replacement surgery. To learn more, visit www.sjhsyr.org/TAVR, or call 315-703-2138.

301 Prospect Ave. Syracuse, NY www.sjhsyr.org/TAVR St. Joseph’s Resource Line (Physician & Program Information): 315-703-2138 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: stjosephshealth

St. Joseph’s is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. Franciscan Companies is a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center system. syracuseWomanMag.com :: february 2013












































Kelly Breuer Barbara McSpadden


Barbara McSpadden


Farah F. Jadran

Letter from the editor


“There’s nothing more inspiring than the complexity and beauty of the human heart.”--Cynthia Hand

graphic design

Kelly Breuer

Casey Jabbour Melissa Meritt

Photography This month is all about you and your heart! This month is in fact Heart Month. With our exclusive partnership with Go Red For Women Syracuse and the Central New York Chapter of the American Heart Association we want to be sure you’re completely in tune with your overall heart health.

Cindy Bell Kelly Kane Andrea Pollard Jussara Potter Michael Okoniewski

This month’s quote by Cynthia Hand describes what I believe about the human heart. We’re all born with different strengths and weaknesses, talents and dreams and also different missions in life. Each woman that has been featured in Syracuse Woman Magazine thus far (and in the near future) has a unique heart. They’re beautiful in their own ways, inside and out. They’re talented and inspiring and they’re helping shape our Central New York Community.

Farah F. Jadran Carolyn Jannetti Alyssa LaFaro Catherine Wilde Jenna Schifferle Susan Dutch Lauren Greutman April Stone

Our values and family upbringings shape us — this is what makes us unique. I know that without my wonderful parents and siblings I wouldn’t have the heart that I have today. I would be a different person and I wouldn’t feel the same love for others or what I do in my everyday life. I am truly grateful for that. This special family bond makes our human hearts genuine and beautiful. This month’s cover women both have been inspired in different ways to be passionate about the heart. Dr. Uzma Iqbal, a cardiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, has had family touched by heart health issues and through her education and career she has come to know more about it. She has many passions along with her love of the human heart. Uzma is a “heart nerd,” as she would say. Then, there’s Leisha Doherty, an incredible woman who represents what it is to survive heart disease and to now advocate for more awareness through her new position with the American Heart Association. SWM’s “everything your heart” edition includes your heart health, the passion in your heart and the love in your heart. Turn to page 26, to learn more about how important it is to pay attention to all three and cherish each day we receive. And with this edition, we’ve brought some fun features for you on matters we all tend to focus on in February — romance and relationships! This month’s Fabulous Finds (page 16 & 17) contain five great date ideas for you and a loved one or a friend! Plus, we know that online dating is becoming more and more the norm in today’s relationship world. There are status updates to be made and dating websites to be surfed, so check in with Miz Match, our new exclusive “go to” woman for online dating and relationship discussions. Join the conversation after you read page 48! If you’re not already staying up-to-date with us online, visit www.syracusewomanmag. com to sign up for a free online subscription. Also, you can connect with us via social media: www.facebook.com/SyracuseWomanMagazine and @SyrWomanMag. Also, stay caught up with me for SWM exclusives on Twitter: @FarahJadran. CNY, here’s to everything your heart has to offer! It’s brilliant, beautiful and unique — and we love that about you.

Farah F. Jadran

ON OUR COVER… Photographer Cindy Bell, of Focus Studio, 900 N. Salina St., in Syracuse, shot our cover women Dr. Uzma Iqbal and Leisha Doherty on location at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse.

Contributing Writers

advertising Sales Renee Moonan Linda Jabbour

for advertising information:

Please contact Renee Moonan (315) 657-7690

Advertise with us...

Unlike any other publication in the Syracuse area, our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, home matters, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local Syracuse women. Ads are due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. The print magazines will be distributed locally in over 350 locations and will be in your inbox electronically by the middle of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Contact our home office 315.434.8889 2501 James Street, Suite 100 Syracuse, NY 13206 info@syracusewomanmag.com Download our media kit at www.syracusewomanmag.com The magazine is published 10 times a year by InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and Eagle Publications, 2501 James Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206. Copyright © 2013 InnovateHER Media Group, llc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publishers. Syracuse Woman Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of InnovateHER Media Group, llc. and will not be returned.

etc.. february movies...


Unlimited funds have allowed Diana to live it up on the outskirts of Miami. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”… and it belongs to an accounts rep who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life.


When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.


Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission -- risking everything, including his family and his own life.


Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found alone and terrified in the woods. Back in the safety of civilization, Nell realizes that she can’t remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning.


Are you prepared to get “carried away”? You better be if you’re going to the PUMPED! Fashion Show at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Crowne Plaza in Syracuse.

VALENTINE’S WITH A TWIST Tired of the same thing every year for Valentine’s Day? This year, forget the actual date and come celebrate with Syracuse Woman Magazine on Thursday, Feb. 21, at Twist Ultra Lounge and Dance. You’ll enjoy a night of fun, food, dance and great company. Upon entry at 9 p.m., you’ll receive a drink ticket good for one drink at the bar. You’ll enjoy light faire and good music. By 9:30 you can join in a Salsa lesson (or watch), but by 10 p.m. the dance floor will be going! There will be live music and Salsa dancers there to assist you. Feel free to invite a friend or two, or come alone to meet some new friends.

Join us for a shoe-themes fashion show event featuring special occasion looks from Oleander, Showoffs and Mr. Shop, of Armory Square. Indulge in special goodies featured by designers Mary Carlic of Wren’s Den, Maryann Major Studios and Jamie Kreitman while participating in a lively shoe auction! Guests will enjoy dinner, dessert and of course the shoes! There is a little bit of everything at this show all the while you’re supporting the CNY chapter of the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, but together we can help spread awareness and live heart healthy lives. Pumped! was created to feature every part of fashion, including shoes, but also to help spread the message of the local AHA and Go Red For Women Syracuse. Tickets are $50 and on sale now at Oleander (426-7813) and Showoffs (471-4636). Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10. Five dollars of each ticket will go to benefit Eddie’s Future Greatness Fund (in memory if Eddie Kirsteins) that provides a scholarship toward education and emergency needs for a Q Center youth. Raffle prizes also will be available. The event starts at 7 p.m. and guests can stay until closing at 2 a.m. Twist is located at 252 W. Genesee St. in Syracuse.

chatter ::platter 8

february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

Latté Da! Café & Bakehouse

Home of the Cookie Fairy BY farah f. jadran I PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY KANE One day Barb Wright and Kay Crawford were driving around as they tend to do for leisure. On this particular day, they happened to be driving through Utica and they noticed an old shop sign. The sign was for a café, one that was no longer in business. They loved the name and agreed that if they ever opened a sandwich shop or café together they would use this moment for inspiration. Last summer, on another leisure drive through Madison County, they noticed that a storefront on Linklaen Street in Cazenovia was up for sale. It was that of Angel’s Deli. Admirers of the village’s architecture and all-around charm, they decided to check it out. “We had lunch here and by the end of our lunch, Kay was in the kitchen and it was almost karma,” explained Barb. “It just looked like the kind of place Kay should be running.” On Dec. 14, 2012, Barb and Kay opened Latté Da! Café & Bakehouse in the village of Cazenovia. “And here we are totally by accident,” Barb said. Kay has many years of experience in restaurants and hospitality, including 17-plus years where she was the general manager for both Brooklyn Pickle locations. “The business world gets crazy,” Kay said. But according to Barb, this is without a doubt, Kay’s forte. Barb admits she has absolutely no background in running a restaurant, but it just so happens that she’s “the best baker Kay’s ever met.” No matter who’s the best at what, the café has been running smoothly because they recognize each other’s strengths. During the day Barb is on the clock elsewhere, so she doesn’t arrive to the café until about 6 o’clock at night. Kay is there for the majority of the day, including the lunch rush, and is not only cooking up a storm, she’s getting to know the customers — many of whom have already become regulars. The couple has already joked that they’ve become a bakehouse with a café and not so much a café with a bakehouse because of the demand for Barb’s divine desserts. “I’m a home baker and certainly have done it for years,” Barb said. “No, I’m not going to tell you how old I am.” I guessed, 37, and she said, “sure” — so we’re good there! “I’ve always been known to make a great pie,” Barb said. She makes at least two pies every night she drives into Cazenovia. “Every time I come back, they’re gone! Maybe there’s a piece or two,” she said. And since Kay is tracking inventory as the day goes on, she chimed in to let me know they once went through an entire carrot cake in one day. Barb’s Almond Cherry Scones also move out the door almost as quickly as they come out of the oven. Another crowd favorite has been “the chocolatiest, darkest homemade cupcake ever with the most decadent chocolate frosting,” according to Barb. The cupcake “Amy’s Addiction” — is named after long-time friend Amy Manley, who, if you couldn’t guess, loves chocolate! Amy helped the café duo do some organizing and designed their business logo. “She has free scones for life,” Kay said. “People are in and out of here constantly looking for a dessert,” Kay said. “Mostly we just enjoy watching people enjoy what we’re making.” And you may be pleased to hear that everything they make is made there, it’s “not out of a box,” Barb said. Latté Da! is located at 3 Linklaen St., Cazenovia. Café hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @LatteDaCaz to receive updates on daily specials. Call (315) 655-5835 or stop in to ask about their catering menu.

forward ::fashion


Getting married soon? Or, maybe you’re soon-to-be engaged because you stumbled upon the box. No matter, Off The Rack is Syracuse’s new “go to store” for everything bridal wear as it focuses mainly on discounted bridal fashions. With the economy in uneven shape, owner Marie Adornato saw a need in the area for an affordable bridal store. “I see many women with budgets of $500 to $1,000 and most bridal gown’s prices start at $1,500. The area needed a store that appealed to this demographic.” After realizing the need for such a store, it was only a month before the new space was being put together. With 3,300 feet of floor space, the spacious area is prime for browsing or taking a group of friends along to help try on the perfect dress for your special day. It’s a much different layout than the sister-store, Spybaby Bridal (in Armory Square), a gown and bridal store reserved for those with perhaps a “higher budget.” In fact, Marie will tell those who call for questions to check out Off the Rack even before coming to Spybaby. “When it comes down to it, I am all about helping the girl have a special and unique day. This experience should be fun; the woman shouldn’t be stressed about trying on a dress she knows she ultimately cannot afford.” She realizes every woman comes in under different circumstances. Marie says she’s in the business to serve her clients in the best way possible. And what’s the best part about Off The Rack? You are the only woman trying on these dresses, so it’s made especially for you.

There is no ordering involved in the process; the dress you try on is the dress you get. The dresses you see may be from a discontinued style or may have never made it into production. You can count on these dresses being one of a kind, according to Marie. You get the personal experience you’ve always dreamed of for this exciting time in your life. Every woman wants to know she is getting a matchless dress that is all her own. “The exclusivity here is something to get excited about,” Marie said. February brings many weddings and proposals during the romantic month, even on the big day itself… Valentine’s Day! And Valentine’s Day is a particularly special month for Marie. She comes from a large family, one with parents who came from tough backgrounds. Their devotion to each other is not seen very often in today’s world, she says. Their values were passed onto the children so where love is concerned, Marie has grown up surrounded by its true meaning. And if that wasn’t enough, she named her daughter Valentina after giving birth to her on this very holiday! Thus far, Marie says the store has seen a great response. With an ample and affordable selection of gorgeous dresses, she says it’s hard to go wrong for any bride-to-be. No appointment is necessary and promotions are offered regularly. Off The Rack is located at 3455 Erie Blvd. East. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (315) 445-1710.

Femininity, style, and interchangeable elegance, that’s what O.W.L. Minis are made of! An assortment of collectible semi-precious gemstones and beautiful charms grace these delicate, flowing stackable pendants that you can personalize. They’re beautiful alone and make thoughtful gifts to add to her necklace for every occasion. Retail Prices starting from $25 - $30.

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Summer muSic camp Sunday, July 14– Friday, July 26, 2013

Jazz I StringS Voice I guitar

Stress & emotional struggles

World-class music programs in the breathtaking Finger Lakes, for middle and high school students

may lead to poor heart health.

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feature ::special


If you were born and raised in Central New York you most likely have come to know many transplants. A transplant is someone who moved to a particular area to either pursue a career, education or maybe even a relationship. These transplants sometimes become strong parts of our CNY community. And recently, we met quite the group of transplants… ARIEL DUCHENE, Assistant Dean for External Relations, L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science at SU

Originally from Glen Head, N.Y., on Long Island, Ariel attended Cornell University where she met her husband (of 11 years now) Adam. She reevaluated her big city plans when Adam promised that “this was it” for them. Years later, they’re enjoying life in Syracuse with their son, Isaac. “We have wonderful friends and the quality of life we will be able to give our son Isaac makes us really happy.” MEGAN COLEMAN, NBC3 5:00 & 6 PM News Anchor

Megan grew up in Prairie Village, Kan., and she moved here to study journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She moved away for her first reporting job, but she returned in 2003 to work as a reporter for WSTM. During that time, she met her husband, Richard. They’ve been married for four years with two children, Olivia, 2, and Henry who will have his first birthday this spring. “I think love tends to happen when you least expect it. We have settled into a wonderful life here and I have been able to create a fantastic balance between work and family life.” TARA LaBARGE, Senior Analyst, National Grid & Co-Founder, Deserted Attic Vintage Rentals

Tara, of Nanuet, N.Y., slowly began realizing that Syracuse was becoming a second home to her as she made regular visits to her now husband Courtney. She began to cherish the CNY culture: Planning SU basketball outings and devouring pulled pork sandwiches at the Dino. “The love of my life is from here. I began a business with my best friend here and most recently, gave birth to my son, Hadley, here.”

JUSTINE KRESO, Senior Firearms Examiner (Onondaga County Center for Forensic Science)

Making her way across the country, Justine was born in Peoria, Ill., and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., and now a resident in CNY. She ended up becoming a CNY-er because she found something worth staying long term

for, her husband, Almin. She says she’s still “surprised she ended up finding this great guy.” “I think one of my favorite things about the ‘transplants’ is how we are a spider web of connections with very little common ground on the surface.” SCOTT CLARKE HAYS, Assistant Scientist II, Bristol-Myers Squibb

After finishing his master’s degree at SUNY-ESF, Scott, a former resident of Meadville, Pa., decided to stay in Syracuse when he was offered a job. Scott enjoys the area’s wineries, great sports teams and the NYS Fair. But all experiences are multiplied thanks to his transplant friendships. “I have had a lot of good friends in my life, but from the night of my first Transplant gathering I knew I had met my people, the ones who think like me, understand me, and accept me for the person I am. ERICA MARCIANO, High School English Teacher and Co-founder Deserted Attic Vintage Rentals

While the distance between her hometown, Little Falls, N.Y., and Syracuse is not great, she is grateful to have made the move. Her husband, Michael, is here, but also she has found a plethora of career opportunities, cultural events and diversity.

“Syracuse is home now. We enjoy raising our children together and always share many laughs whether we gather one on one, as a transplant group or with our families.” Lauren LaGrow, PA, Hospital Medicine at Upstate University Hospital Community Campus

Hailing from Allentwon, Pa., Lauren is only three hours away from her hometown. No matter, the transplants have become a big part of her “extended family” in CNY. Now, she and her husband, Josh, look forward to many days with a clear blue sky to be on Skaneateles Lake or snowshoeing in three feet of snow along with their two dogs!. “Now that I’ve lived here for almost 8 years I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I absolutely love the seasons.” KARYN BURNS, Vice President, Communications and Government Relations at MACNY, the Manufacturers Association

After graduating from SU, Karyn was ready to go. She moved to Washington, D.C., for a few years, but her relationship with her now husband, John, brought her back. Formerly of Bennington, Vt., Karyn now loves living, working and raising a family here. “Our group really takes advantage of the region when planning our get togethers… ski trips, seeing plays or shows together, or trying out new places to eat.”

From left to right: Erica Marciano, Justine Kreso, Megan Coleman, Karyn Burns, Scott Clarke Hays, Tara LaBarge, Ariel Duchene and Lauren LaGrow.



BY LAUREN GREUTMAN Americans spend an average of $17.6 billion on Valentine’s Day each year, and researchers say it is one of the biggest gift-giving days of the year. Men will spend an average of $168 on their Valentine this year, but what happens when you want to have the same experience for less money? My husband and I have been married for 10 years and for many years we only exchanged cards on Valentine’s Day because there just wasn’t room in our budget. A few years ago we started planning to do something special, but we still made the decision to stay within a budget. There are many ways to have a wonderful and memorable Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. Here are some of my top ideas that we have done over the past 10 years to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day on little money. 1.) Don’t Forget The Flowers

Wegmans has great rose bouquets for very affordable prices. I always “gently” remind my husband of to check out the Wegmans floral departments around this holiday. 2.) Create Special Meals For Your Children Or Spouse

We always like to make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast. I use a few drops of beet juice to make the pancakes pink, this adds the color and a bit of nutrition.

3.) Make Heart Shaped Cupcakes Together

By placing a marble in your cupcake tin between the edge of the tin and the cupcake baking cup, you can bake perfect heart shapes cupcakes. 4.) Have A Date Night In.

Grocery stores will always have great sales on lobsters and steak around Valentine’s Day. You can make a gourmet surf and turf meal for under $30, light some candles and put on some music and you have a wonderful date night at home. 5.) Sign Up For An Amazon Prime Account

You get a free one-month trial and you can use this to watch those romantic movies for free on Valentine’s Day. You also can sign up to receive text messages from Redbox.com and get a code for a free movie rental every month! With these five easy steps you can have a wonderful Valentine’s Day on a budget. We always hear that the day is about showing those you love how much you care, so put some thought into it. Make a card instead of buying one, get your kids involved, and most of all have fun! Lauren Greutman is the owner of THAT Lady Media LLC. Visit her site, www.iamthatlady.com and follow her on Facebook at www. facebook.com/iamthatlady and on Twitter, @iamthatlady.

finds ::fab


DOWNTOWN DANCE STUDIO Thinking about learning to dance for your wedding? Or how about just learning how to dance with a significant other or with a friend? It’s never too late to take up the art of dance. Finding the right teacher and the right pace is all it takes. A year ago, past SWM Inspire Woman Ann Sedore, dean of the Crouse College of Nursing, teamed up with Heather Kennedy to open the Downtown Dance Studio. They hope to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Syracuse as well as to build an even more vital dance community in Central New York. (315) 471.7952 I 300 E. GENESEE ST., SYRACUSE WWW.DDS-SYR.COM


The 1060 Restaurant features a polished, yet relaxed atmosphere to fit every occasion. Executive chefs strive to reflect a commitment to culinary excellence by showcasing the freshest quality local ingredients in an elegant style. Also, the relaxing lounge area features an exceptional hand picked wine list and an inspired menu of cocktails crafted to order. (315) 476.4212 I 1060 E. GENESEE ST., SYRACUSE WWW.GENESEEGRANDE.COM


february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com



Rosalie’s Cucina was established in 1995 by renowned restaurateur Philip Romano, for his sister Rosalie. The exceptional menu features a Tuscan Menu through April 1. This classic menu offers favorite dishes such as the Farfalle con Pollo, Cappa Santa al Prosciutto e Basilico and the Braciole. And a special date night at Rosalie’s wouldn’t be complete without trying Rosalie’s Cioccolato, mile-high devil’s food cake drenched with warm calabeut chocolate sauce with oven roasted pecans and homemade whipped cream, or the Cannolli Siciliani crisp cannolli shell filled with sweetened impastata ricotta cheese and chocolate chips.




There’s something for everyone, from an indoor pool for relaxing and an array of dining at the familyfriendly restaurants. Located in the heart of Central New York’s rolling hills and overlooking historic Vernon Downs Racetrack, Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is your home-away-from-home for a uniquely fun and exciting getaway! The spacious guestrooms and suites are steps from Vernon Downs Casino and live racing for nonstop action and live entertainment. (315) 829-3400 I 4229 STUHLMAN ROAD, VERNON IWWW.VERNONDOWNS.COM


Celebrate love at this popular annual event which features a delicious buffet dinner and live entertainment in the Skyline Lodge. Each evening begins with a cheese and vegetable platter and live entertainment followed by a candle-lit dinner which features carved roast prime rib of beef, oven roasted chicken, and riggies with vodka sauce. After dinner, guests will enjoy horsedrawn sleigh rides, a colorful bouquet of flowers and a bon fire, and/or guests may opt to remain at the lodge and dance the night away to live music. Proceeds of this event support the hard-working volunteers of the Highland Nordic Ski Patrol. Available dates: From 7 to 11p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 2 to 16 and Thursday, Feb.14. Please call for reservations. ($85 per couple, reservations required) (315) 683-5550 I 1254 HIGHLAND FOREST ROAD, FABIUS I WWW. ONONDAGACOUNTYPARKS.COM/HIGHLAND-FOREST/ syracuseWomanMag.com :: february 2013


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woman ::healthy


If you or one of your loved one is living with heart failure, you know the special needs and challenges you must face on a day to day basis. The program offers a specially trained team of health care professionals who provide care and support in your home. Individuals with serious cardiac disease who have had repeated hospitalizations for management of their cardiac symptoms or have unintentional weight loss with progressive weakness and functional decline can be considered for the Heart to Heart program. The Heart to Heart program can help manage a condition so unwanted trips to the emergency room or hospitalizations may become unnecessary. “These individuals can be feeling fine one moment and then the next moment experience symptoms such as shortness of breath or fluid retention which are difficult to manage at home without assistance,” explains Denise Rife, director of Patient and Family Services for Hospice of CNY. The team is made up of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, Home Health Aides, and volunteers whose goal is managing your

unique symptoms and enhancing your emotional and spiritual wellbeing while remaining in your home. This team is available 24 hours a day to respond to your needs and will make home visits when needed. If your symptoms are not able to be managed at home, we will help arrange for hospitalization and work with the hospital staff to get your symptoms under control and get you home as soon as possible. Because Heart to Heart works in collaboration with your physician and area hospitals they can work to try and make those visits less frequent, shorter and quicker. The focus is to help you live as normal a life as you can — at home surrounded by the people and things you love most. Would you like to know more about the program? Call (315) 634-1100 and ask for a Heart to Heart specialist. And when you call you get to talk to a live person! After hours and on weekends, our operators will have a Heart to Heart specialist get back to you usually within an hour or two.

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Most weddings come with months of planning. First, you and your husband- or wife-to-be are busy picking the perfect date. Then, you’re choosing a theme, colors, a cake, rings, organizing a wedding party and most importantly, where will the nuptials take place? For Central New York athletes like Amanda and Dwaine Spence, getting married during a half-marathon was the perfect way to tie the knot. The ceremony, at the 3-mile mark of the Las Vegas Half Marathon on Dec. 2, 2012, ensured that it would be attended by a small group of close family and set in a fun, healthy and informal atmosphere. And since Amanda and Dwaine have always incorporated travel and athletics into their relationship, the setting seemed fitting. The couple got engaged after running a full marathon in Barcelona last March, which made tying the knot during a half-marathon a much lighter workout. This unique choice of vows also was supported by their families, said Amanda The Las Vegas event is geared toward couples like Amanda and Dwaine who want to tie the knot at the 3-mile mark of the race. The ceremony is short and afterward, man and wife run the final 10.1 miles to the finish line together, rather than dancing a first dance. Amanda and Dwaine met each other working in Radiation-Oncology at Upstate Medical University and they have always enjoyed exercising together. Some days Amanda drags Dwaine to the pool to swim, which is her strength but not his. On other days the two go out for a jog or spin on their bikes indoors.


january 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

Because of their shared passion for exercise and adventure, Amanda and Dwaine find ways of incorporating athletic events into traveling. Amanda hailed running a marathon in Barcelona as a great way to see the city. “You are basically running down some of the most major streets of Barcelona, down the biggest strip,” Amanda said. The couple hopes to continue to see the world together in this way, anticipating a trip to San Diego in the future. In the spring, Amanda and Dwaine are looking to find something to do in Washington D.C., where Amanda’s brother lives and an area Dwaine has never seen. Amanda described the wedding as “high energy for sure” and said she thought the bonding experience of running the 10 miles together afterward was something that rivals a first dance. Their relationship grew out of a friendship as the couple realized they shared the same hobbies and came to enjoy spending time together. Right from the get-go, said Amanda, they realized they enjoyed the same things and the relationship took off from there. And much like racing toward a finish line after the wedding, it hasn’t slowed since. Catherine Wilde is a 30-something professional and regular Syracuse Woman Magazine contributor who competes in local triathlons and open swim competitions. She’s an avid runner, cyclist and swimmer.



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woman ::wboc’s leading

Each member in the WBOC has her own unique story. Many join as new business owners, eager for advice from experienced entrepreneurs. Others are in search of accountants, media experts and potential clients. Dr. Mary Starr Carter joined WBOC (Women Business Opportunities Connection) about six years ago when her Young Living Essential Oils business began to take off. “I was just transitioning my business at the time and started traveling a lot, so I didn’t get to go to a lot of meetings,” she admitted with honesty. She made one strong connection while there, however — Lisa DeVeau, longtime WBOC member and owner of Completely Organized Inc. “I joined her mailing list, so for years I’d get an occasional email about organization. Shortly after I had my son, I really needed to organize my offices, so Lisa conducted four or five sessions with me.” And, like most women, they got to talking. “We were talking about the WBOC, and she suggested I give a presentation there on some of the things we had talked about. So the door flew open again, and I rejoined in January of last year.” Not only is Mary’s WBOC story an interesting one, but so is her life story. For about 10 years, she had her own chiropractic practice. But, unlike most chiropractors, Mary would spend 30 minutes to an hour with her patients, teaching them about wellness through information on nutrition and natural remedies. Between her side business and having children, she slowly weaned from her practice, only seeing patients on a parttime basis. “But then I realized that I had all this information in my head that just needed to come out,” she laughed, “so I became a mommy blogger. I retired from chiropractic and now this is what I do — part-time total wellness doc and full-time mom.” And a re-established WBOC member. The organization for women in business has really helped light the way for Mary. “I got some really great mentoring from Teri Nichols, who I have always admired,” she explained. “And overall, I was just able to connect with good resources. I have a new accountant, marketing service, and financial advisor — all of whom I met at WBOC. Although I didn’t intend for it to happen, I’ve also gained a lot of new business from attending meetings.” Mary has even gained content for her blog from the women she’s met at WBOC. “Some are going through all of these different experiences, both emotionally and physically, and their stories offer up different topics to tackle on my blog.” It is because of women that Mary started her blog (The Total Wellness Doc), www.thetotalwellnessdoc.com, in the first place. “For years, within my practice, I saw a lot of women who had spent decades taking care of everyone except themselves. A big piece I share is self care, and really just encouraging women to recognize their needs. When we are happy and healthy, we can do our jobs better, our relationships are stronger, and our families are healthier.” Once Mary started having babies of her own, she realized she needed to give her advice to herself. Her 2½-year-old son keeps her very busy, and she’ll be even more so when the little girl she’s expecting arrives this March. So she’ll retreat to WBOC meetings, a place where she can make time for herself and enjoy the company of other women — no matter their profession or how long they’ve been members — who can relate to being both a mom and a woman in business. The WBOC is a local non-profit organization that has been providing support to women and access to innovative events and workshops for 20 years. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a WBOC signature sponsor that aims to promote a common mission. For information on how to become a member, visit www.wboconnection.org.





So, what’s the missing link? It’s your health, your passion and the love for who you are. Without a doubt these three things are not trivial at any level, but I challenge you to work on incorporating at least one of these three missing links into your mornings from here on out. And little by little, they won’t be add-ins in your life, they’ll be fundamentals of your everyday life. And more than likely you’ve already read numerous headlines or articles about how “women don’t put themselves first,” and that “they’re also taking care of others before attending to their own needs.” Well, if you’ve heard it, you know it and maybe even agree with it — it might be time to actually change it. Health Of Your Heart Stopping in to one of CNY’s many coffee shops could be a great addition to any morning. The smell of freshly ground coffee is in the air and maybe your favorite pastry is in the glass display too. However, for some, a visit to a coffee shop can be a life lesson. For others, the way they approach the plethora of coffee drink choices and pastries is a way of life. “Why do you always have tea and never coffee?” The Wednesday morning Eastwood Café Kubal barista asked to a regular customer after noticing some very conscious choices. She replied, “I have heart disease.” Leisha Doherty, 44, could easily pass for a 30-something. She looks great and on the outside, very healthy. However, four years ago Leisha endured her first heart attack. Before it happened, she didn’t have any real telltale signs. “I felt well and looked healthy,” She said. “I may have been a little heavier but I was walking or jogging five miles a day and eating healthy.” So, how did she end up in the hospital with severe chest pains and ultimately a heart attack? “I can tell you that you don’t feel your arteries blocking up,” said Leisha with a little bit of laughter. “I’m 99 to 100 percent sure about that.” At the time, her only option was an emergency open-heart surgery. Moving forward, she began working toward living a “heart healthy” life. But after her second heart attack, even her cardiologists couldn’t believe

Nowadays, Leisha doesn’t take any chances. In addition, this past fall Leisha took on a new professional role, one that ties in with her set of heart-healthy daily virtues. Leisha is the Central New York director of Go Red For Women and the Heart Ball Campaign. And in this case, you don’t have to guess what it’s like for someone to “stand up” against a disease because Leisha literally stands. Her fellow Circle of Red member and 2013 Go Red For Women Syracuse Chair Anne Messenger donated a standing desk so that Leisha could stand while working at the office. “Sitting for more than 3 hours a day is worse than smoking a quarter pack of cigarettes,” Leisha said. She understands the importance of having her Lymph system engaged and giving her heart regular 10-minute bursts of energy.


If so, this means you’re allowing a list of “X” amount of things to be placed on your plate. While the aforementioned list has many valid and significant items on it, there’s something missing — actually, there’s a few things missing. While I know many of the “get-up-and-go” women in Central New York probably have similar mornings and similar lists, I am sure many don’t realize what’s missing. They might not even see a problem with the morning I described.

Like ovarian cancer, heart disease is a silent killer. Symptoms are ignored and doctor visits seem pointless when you’re dealing with fatigue or weight gain due to erratic eating habits. Who isn’t dealing with “minor” issues like these?


Each morning, women wake up with an agenda or some sort of a plan for the day. These tasks or goals for the day may include an array of items. Some women are rushing to get the kids to school on time or to a bus stop, fit in some exercise before work, make it to that important meeting you stayed up all night worrying about, hit a deadline, or maybe it’s all of the above.

she was walking. Because Leisha has heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women (and more deadly to women than any form of cancer), she knows she’s in a daily battle for her life — a somewhat invisible battle.

Another of Leisha’s fellow Circle of Red members and Go Red Syracuse advocates is someone who could tell you all you need to know about your heart. Dr. Uzma Iqbal is a ninth year cardiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. But more than that, she has an underlying connection to the heart. Throughout medical school at Aga Kahn University in Pakistan, the heart and its various functions intrigued Uzma. “During my first year as a medical student my father had his first heart attack and two other heart attacks and strokes afterward,” Uzma said. “I developed a strong inclination to stop this deadly disease.” The decision to specialize in cardiology was spurred by several amazing mentors who picked up on this passion during her residency. She can tell you blunt facts such as one in three women will have heart disease at some point and one in four women will die of a heart attack. Nevertheless, she knows it’s about taking steps of prevention and truly utilizing tools to their advantage. “I feel that all the weapons that we have against heart disease are used too late in the disease process when the damage has already begun or has been done,” Uzma explained. “Early awareness allows people to take control over their own health and prevent the development of the disease in the first place or get timely treatment when symptoms appear.” Luckily, Uzma assured me in a notion I made a few years back when I realized how strong the local Go Red For Women movement was and how active the CNY chapter of the American Heart Association really is. “The Syracuse community is lucky to have very strong motivated women in powerful leadership positions that understand the importance of fighting against the No. 1 killer of women,” she said. “Together they have made it their mission to beat this disease.”



As for Leisha, her passion runs deep in many areas of her life. For one, her own business, Her Heartbeat, is blossoming. It gives her the opportunity to utilize her many years of experience in social work and connect with women on a personal level. Like her ability to share her knowledge on heart disease with a local barista, Leisha also knows that she’s capable of helping women get through a divorce or realize new healthy lifestyle changes, and not just on the physical level. She tells them about what she’s doing and aims to counsel “the total heart” — spiritual, emotional and physical. “When I woke up on life support the first time, my whole life changed,” Leisha said. As a single mother to Chloe, 16, Ethan, 13, and Isabel, 10, Leisha admitted she was terrified to die when she had her first heart attack. When your doctor tells you, “You’re not supposed to be here,” but in reality you are living — you have no other choice but to live. And that’s exactly what Leisha has done. “What I realized is that I truly believe when I wake up in the morning it’s a gift,” Leisha said. “I never know when my last breath is going to be.” She waited a few days to talk to her kids about what open-heart surgery could mean. “We talked about things honestly,” Leisha said. “How many parents actually get to do that?” At that point, her kids weren’t scared anymore. However, now, she tells her kids that heart disease is a blessing. It opened her heart to the journey ahead of her. “I was living on life support until I woke up on life support,” Leisha said. “Now. I have passion, direction and emission.” When people ask her, “How do you do it all?” She told me, “You understand it. You have this fire inside you too.” Love In Your Heart What captures the love in Leisha’s heart? “My children, absolutely.” When Leisha told family and friends she would be getting a divorce about 10 years ago, she was pregnant with Isabel. While she struggled at first, she realized this was her chance to show her three children how loved they were and always would be. “We make mistakes as moms, and I try to be a real mom,” she said. “I’m not always right and I tell them that.” We learn and


january 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

move through experiences, she explained. For every hardship, there’s a new turn. “We move forward and learn to better connect and our passions really come alive.”

Uzma’s humble character shines through when she’s speaking in a room. She’s welleducated and has many years of experience to back up her words of advice on heart health and the science of cardiology. She is equipped with a strong mind that remembers the generations of inspiration before her success. “My mother showed me that it was possible to be a working woman and still raise a healthy and happy family,” Uzma said. “My husband has been like a pillar, never letting me fall and always providing me with encouragement and advice.” Finally, Uzma says her mother-in-law taught her in medical school and still provides her with the best advice about matters of the heart and mind. It’s easy to read this article or any other on heart health and table the idea to actually take better care of you. But it’s difficult to actually make that change, whatever it might be. Whether it’s exercising more (or at all), eating healthier or quitting smoking — it’s your choice. As we’re not promised tomorrow, each woman-on-the-go in CNY (or elsewhere) reading Uzma and Leisha’s stories should take a challenge. Make your heart health, your passion and the love in your heart No. 1 on your list today — your life may very well depend on it.


In the same way, Uzma has great love in her heart because of her family. Many family members have played a big role in making her who she is today. “My father always taught me to dream big and always told me I could achieve anything I set my mind to,” Uzma said. “He taught me that success was being able to get up after a failure and with a smile on your face.”


Leisha’s relationship with her children has truly come alive as she has come to “be alive” each day. “We’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” she reminded me. And with that in mind, the love in Leisha’s life is genuine and very real. She has three children who live to see their mother live each day and she has work that allows her to influence other women — two apparent loves in her life.

STRENGTHEN THE HEART OF CENTRAL NEW YORK. Stickley Furniture and Stickley, Audi & Co. are proud to support the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women.

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Lupus, like other autoimmune diseases, is the result of the body fighting itself. Cells misbehave and attack healthy tissue causing a painful inflammation response.


My diagnosis came after six years, 10 medical specialists in three cities, dozens of emergency room visits and hundreds of medications. More aggressive testing through Upstate Medical University’s rheumatology department brought me an answer — finally, an answer — after years of being sick. Some diagnoses come sooner, some take longer. No two diagnoses are the same, just as no two lupus patients are the same.

::for a good

It was a word six years in the making — two vowels sandwiched between three consonants, bearing six years of frustration and complications to last a lifetime. The word is lupus, a relatively simple word for something increasingly complex for myself and 1.5 million other Americans diagnosed with the autoimmune disease.

Dr. Andras Perl, chief of rheumatology at Upstate, says the criteria for diagnosing someone with lupus can be a roadblock to care for the disease. In order to be diagnosed, a certain amount of criterion must be present. Lupus is a disease of flares, with symptoms waxing and waning, provoked by triggers such as the sun, stress or lack of sleep. Flares can last a day, a week, a month or even years, requiring additional medications, infusions and hospital treatment. Symptoms can be present in whole one day, and gone the next, making the overall lupus story a difficult one to tell. “Sometimes patients don’t provide the whole story,” Perl said. “Sometimes doctors don’t seek the whole story. Part of the difficulty is someone not making an effort. They must be adamant about crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s.” Lupus is one in a class of “invisible diseases,” because patients often don’t “look sick.” Symptoms can be musculoskeletal, can involve organs, like the kidneys and lungs, and can affect the brain and cognitive systems. Different treatments will come into play depending on how involved the lupus is — ranging from anti-malarials and vitamin D, to frequent infusions and even chemotherapy. “The prognosis of lupus is highly variable,” Perl said. “It’s something that has to be monitored for a lifetime. With the research done in the last few years, the prognosis has greatly improved, but the course [lupus] follows, it’s very hard to predict.” That’s why awareness of the disease is key — it will be brought to the forefront at the sixth annual “Walk Along for Lupus,” at Destiny USA, sponsored by the Lupus Alliance of Upstate New York. “More awareness makes it easier for people to understand what the person with lupus is dealing with — the fact that it is chronic, can be life threatening and certainly life altering for many,” said Honi Kurzeja, executive director of the Lupus Alliance of Upstate New York. “[Awareness] also promotes earlier diagnosis for those who can recognize early symptoms and perhaps discuss this with their physicians.” If one more person knows the signs and symptoms of lupus, maybe it can cut diagnosis time in half for the next patient. While lupus is incurable, a quicker diagnosis could be the key to quicker course of action to manage the day-to-day lupus involvement. Kurzeja, myself, and others will be at the sixth annual “Walk Along for Lupus” at Destiny USA, a walk hosted by the Lupus Alliance. “[The walk] brings together those who are affected by lupus — patients, caregivers, family, friends, co-workers—and allows them to meet others who are dealing with the same problems,” Kurzeja said. The walk will be held at 9:30 a.m., March 17, at Destiny USA, near the food court and carousel. Those interested in registering, donating or learning more about the walk can visit http://www.firstgiving.com/ lupusupstate/6th-annual-walk-along-for-lupussyracuse. Amanda Seef is an assignment editor at YNN, secretary of the Syracuse Press Club and volunteer at WAVES Ambulance, where she just finished her EMT course. She lives in Chittenango, with her cat, Chevelle.

syracuseWomanMag.com :: january 2013


words ::in her own

Why One Go Red For Women Volunteer Spreads Awareness


y experience in health care, but also the women in my life, sparked my interest in participating in the 2013 Go Red for Women campaign. I am a mother of four daughters, have three granddaughters and one grandson. Any program that improves, enhances or promotes health and happiness for women and children is of interest to me. My family has experienced its share of heart disease as has nearly every family I know. Both of my parents had heart disease. My father had surgery for it, but they both were on life-long medications for their cardiovascular issues. Plus, several of my aunts and uncles were struggling with heart disease too. Heart disease causes pain and suffering, including death, as well as expensive health care costs. I am a registered nurse and have a special interest in any advances in modern medicine. Because these advances are happening at such a rapid pace, I am frequently discussing these new ideas with my daughters. Within the last year, some aging experts stated that they believe scientific breakthroughs will mean babies born today will live more than 100 years. Some say the next generation could live up to 150 years — that means my grandchildren! Genetic advances are astonishing and include growing new organs from stem cells and using gene therapy to successfully treat diseases like blindness and leukemia.


february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

As the CEO of CNY Infusion Services we care for many patients in the Central New York community with home intravenous therapy needs. Along with treating their acute illnesses we frequently find that many of our patients additionally have heart disease as a chronic illness. Our home infusion company addresses the immediate health care needs of our patients requiring intravenous therapy. Additionally, we focus our efforts on providing education on wellness, prevention and compliance for important health risks like heart disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in America. One in three American women dies of cardiovascular disease, while 1 in 30 die of breast cancer. Eighty percent of all heart disease is preventable. If I can impress upon my children and grandchildren the importance of prevention, not only will they live longer but they will have an improved quality of life. I feel it is my obligation to encourage heart healthy habits for my loved ones including diet and exercise and avoidance of bad habits such as smoking. When I agreed to participate in this campaign, I was thinking that this would be an effective way to increase awareness with my friends and family as well as my community. I would like to help increase awareness of heart disease in women because I think the message has not been heard loudly or often enough. I know I have heard that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women in the past but it seems it was in passing and I did not “take it to heart.” I am happy to be a part of the movement to spread the word in CNY.





Ally Donofrio learned the importance of patience when her daughter Addison was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She wasn’t expecting the news and part of her was scared of what the chromosomal condition entailed. What would having Down syndrome mean for Addison’s future? What kind of help would Addison need? What kind of changes would her family have to make? “I want the best for her and I want the best for every child with Down syndrome,” Ally said. The journey hasn’t been easy. At the age of four months, Addison had to undergo open-heart surgery. Ally had to wait patiently as her daughter came through the operation, her maternal side overwhelmed and worried. Addison pulled through, though the operation ultimately delayed her speech. Watching her little girl today, Ally has realized that despite this and other delays, Addison is just like every other child. “Addison is going to do everything my son Eric is doing, just on a different timeline,” she said. That is the only difference between her and other children. Some people don’t realize this, and there is often a stigma attached to Down syndrome. Many times, people who haven’t had first-hand experience with the condition don’t know how to react to those who have it. It is for that reason that Ally sought a way to promote awareness about Down syndrome and to stimulate Addison’s learning. As a fitness buff, Ally originally envisioned a fitness center that would be available for people of all ages, including children with Down syndrome. By doing a little research, Ally came across GiGi’s Playhouse, a center for children with Down syndrome. The original playhouse was started in a suburb of Chicago by a mother named Nancy Gianni, whose daughter has Down syndrome. The more Ally learned about the organization, the more she fell in love. Ally wanted to start a center where all age groups could go for their needs. GiGi’s Playhouse was perfect. Ally sought support, formed a board and began fundraising. All of the board members took pictures of their children who had Down syndrome and mailed out the pictures to family members explaining their goals of starting a GiGi’s Playhouse in Central New York. They raised about $15,000 right off the bat and continued fundraising. In January of 2012, they held their first board meeting. After more than 10 months of hard work, GiGi’s Playhouse recently opened in Drivers Village in Cicero. Ally said the playhouse aims to provide support for children with Down syndrome and their families, increase awareness of Down syndrome and help all children reach the important milestones in their lives. Services provided by the playhouse include one-on-one tutoring, educational programs in literacy, phonics, handwriting, math and skill building, prenatal support and social skill development. All services are free of charge for families. Programs like “One Million Voices” and “I have a Voice” seek to change “outdated perceptions and replace those images with beautiful, thought-provoking, intelligent images,” according to their website, www.gigisplayhouse.org/syracuse. The playhouse brings children with Down syndrome together and unites families who share similar stories.

Ally is excited for the future of GiGi’s Playhouse and sees a great deal of potential for growth, including the addition of a kitchen for cooking classes. She hopes to increase awareness about Down syndrome and create a more positive world for her daughter. “Just because our kids wear their condition on their face doesn’t make them any different from other kids,” she said. “Give your child time to develop. You just have to realize that it will be at a different pace.”


january 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com


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A healthy heart requires A healthy life balance Focusing on Woman's Heart Health through: • Nutritional changes through diet and exercise • Stress management encompassing issues such as relationships, connectivity, anxiety, anger, etc. • Spiritual well-being by letting go of the past and helping to serve others • Identifying and managing your own heart disease risk factors

80% OF HEART DISEASE IS PREVENTABLE... when you achieve a healthy life balance

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Passion comes in many forms. And for two Syracuse sisters, it’s in the form of a particular breed. Stefanie Heath-Higgins and Nicole Heath have made it their mission to be advocates for the pit bull breed in the Syracuse area.



Helping those who struggle to help themselves is in their blood. Their desire to help the community comes from a long line of “givers” in the family. Nicole gives her knowledge and guidance as a high school teacher, helping kids reach their potential socially and academically. Stefanie works at an area nursing home providing care for the elderly on a daily basis. Their family grew up with pit bulls as pets, and the sisters strongly maintain that all dogs need humans to survive and that we can’t abrogate that responsibility. “There was a real turn around moment for me one day when I was receiving a massive number of emails and calls,” Stefanie said. “I thought to myself that there must be a better way for me to help.” After seeing the high rate of abuse and neglect these dogs were getting from working in an animal shelter, the sisters knew something had to be done. But where to start? Nicole and Stefanie decided the best way to aid the cause was to start at the beginning, before the abuse even comes into play. “We have to go straight to where it all starts,” Stefanie said. And that is how “prevention” and animal education became their premise. “This breed is wildly misunderstood,” Nicole said. Both sisters explained that the pit bull by nature is particularly loyal and responsive, unlike the way society “typically” portrays them. But because of this loyal instinct, training a pit bull the wrong way is an easy mistake to make. They are not innately aggressive. On the contrary, the breed is one of the most docile out there. The Heath sisters have had many conversations with the Syracuse Police Department regarding the steady gang violence in the area. In particular, they’re familiar with “Syracuse Truce,” an initiative under Project Safe Neighborhood with the goal of gang deterrence. This program is federally funded to nine US cities and Syracuse was chosen as one of them. With the increase in gang violence, pit bulls are being used and abused for multiple reasons. Stefanie says some are kept simply as a status symbol while many others are used for merciless dogfights. The sisters believe that when these dog owners start taking responsibility for their pets, this attitude also will manifest itself in other areas of the person’s life. “We feel like the [breed] can ultimately be used as a vehicle for a bigger change,” Stefanie says. Stefanie and Nicole offer many different kinds of education including dog-training meetings. Training sessions for owners and their dogs take place at St. Lucy’s Church on Gifford Street in Syracuse. This six-to-eight-week program is the organization’s main way of educating everyone in the community, down to the kindergarten and pre-k levels. Although it has only been a year, the Cuse Pit Crew has created a tremendous amount of transformation. In fact, Nicole and Stefanie both feel that our community is very far advanced with an abundant coalition of groups willing to help. Other areas of the country have banned the breed altogether. But in Syracuse it’s quite the opposite. Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) introduced legislation, which increased the penalties against those who abuse or neglect a companion animal, while Syracuse Mayor Stefanie Miner signed a proclamation officially making Oct. 22 Pit Bull Awareness Day. The team takes pride in their grassroots effort to expedite the community’s shift in attitude. With a core group that meets monthly, change is no longer an idea or hope — it has become a reality. BY CAROLYN JANNETTI I PHOTO BY ANDREA POLLARD

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at www.cusepitcrew.org.

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Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. But we have the power to save our lives.


syracuse women


Lacrosse, Onondaga Community College


“Having that sense of family on and off the field — that’s what keeps me playing even more than the sport itself,” said Erin Herr. When she was just 3 years old, Erin would tag along with her lacrosse coach mom — Kathy — to practices at Skaneateles High School. “Mom would bring me every day, and I just naturally picked up the stick. That’s where my love of lacrosse began.”

Now a sophomore at Onondaga Community College, Erin plays for the school’s women’s lacrosse team as a midfielder. Unsure of what to expect this coming spring for the team, she reminisces about her freshman year lacrosse experience. “I hope to have another year like last year. Last year was amazing. All the girls on the team had such great chemistry. And we won the national championship.” It’s true. Despite the odds, the OCC lacrosse team hired a new coach, Tom MacDonald, last year. The team made it all the way to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship game. And won. “When coach was hired, we were all kind of nervous because we didn’t know who he was or what he was going to bring to the program,” explained Erin. “But he is just so awesome. The program is completely different now that he’s here, and it seems like there are a lot more girls, this year’s freshmen, who want to play. Winning the championship really meant a lot for OCC’s program.”

But it especially meant a lot to Erin. The human services major admitted she wasn’t always so put together. “Halfway through my senior year of high school, I was told I couldn’t play on the team anymore because of my grades. I also came down with mono, and I was pretty negative about the whole thing. After being on the lacrosse team here, though, I feel like I can do it. It’s really made me realize what’s important.” Both Erin’s teammates and coach have helped her turn things around. The team is her family, and Coach MacDonald is “kind of like a second dad,” laughed Erin. “He’s always checking in with us to make sure we’re on track.” For one hour either before or after practices, the team has a study table, where they focus on their homework and study for tests. Erin explained that balancing school and lacrosse is the biggest challenge for her. “Sometimes it’s hard because I am always ready to go, ready to play. But coach makes all of us print out our syllabi to give them to him, so he knows what’s due and when it’s due for each of us.” She also credits her assistant coaches — Maggie Koch, Stephanie Donegan, and Erin Holdridge — for giving her goals and keeping her attitude positive. Outside of the team, Erin said her biggest support system is her family. “My parents, my two brothers, and my sister are at every game cheering me on. It’s reassuring,” Erin said. “I really look up to my parents, especially. I know that’s cliché, but they keep me (continued on page 44)


“I was given talents and work with them the best that I can.”


ELASHIER “LACIE” HALL Basketball, Syracuse University


“The moment I realized I was on the billboard, it was so humbling. I think I almost cried.” “Humble” does not even begin to describe the genuine and truthful character of Elashier “Lacie” Hall, a senior guard for Syracuse University’s women’s basketball team. When she found out that she was featured on a now well-known billboard on 690 West in Syracuse, she was so happy and honestly, speechless. Her down-to-earth personality is apparent as soon as you hear her talk about her passion for athletics, but also her passion for her school work and future aspirations. And now that Lacie is in her senior year at SU, she’s not going out quietly. “It’s my last year. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” said Lacie during an interview at the latest Big East Media Day. She recommends that you, “Don’t leave it down to one possession at the end of the game.” Again, her passion is not only visible on the court, but in the classroom. In her interview with Syracuse Woman Magazine, she admitted the challenges of being a student-athlete fluctuates. However, as a double major in accounting and real estate, her studying time has increased even more. “It’s a lot of time on top of basketball,” Lacie said, but the long hours don’t bother her one bit. “This is what I do. I don’t settle for one thing” Because she wanted to expand her fields of study, she accepted the added work. “You can’t play basketball forever,” Lacie said. “At the end of the day I’ll be set.” As a scholarship athlete, Lacie encourages other student-athletes to take advantage of the fact that “you’re going to school for free.” When she’s home in Washington, D.C., she stays true to her roots and stops in to the local recreational center to shoot some hoops. Among many moments she’s had at this particular rec center, Lacie says she will never forget when a young girl’s father asked her to give his daughter a few pointers on the court. “That was cool,” Lacie said. “I talked to her about college and what she should do. That’s what I get the most joy out of.” Those looking into the life of star student-athletes such as Lacie might assume that everything comes easily to her. However, that’s not the case at all. Hard work and dedication are at the root of Lacie’s success but her genuine passion is what exalts her to succeed. “It’s definitely challenging. It’s hard because you are good [at your sport] and people expect so much from you and you need to keep that up. I was given talents and work with them the best that I can and push my teammates.” During her four years on the court for the Orange, Lacie says this year is by far the best one. “We have so much versatility on our bench, and our starters.” Although she is enjoying her time with the freshmen, Lacie says it’s “bittersweet” because they only have one year to play together. “[We have] so much talent that we have no choice but to go further than we have in past years,” Lacie said. “I have so much excitement in this year.”


february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

While Lacie is one of the apparent leaders on the court for the Orange, the team’s overall leader, Coach Quentin Hillsman, also sees Lacie as a positive influence on the squad. “Lacie is a great competitor that has an unwavering (continued on page 44)


“Their competitiveness with each other brings out the best in each other.”



Soccer and Lacrosse, Le Moyne College


With each new academic year, colleges welcome fresh faces to their sports teams. The life and schedules of student-athletes is a hectic one. But adjusting from high school to college is a more comfortable transition when you have your sister by your side. This past fall, Le Moyne College welcomed Claire and Maggie Monnat, twin sisters and standout student-athletes not only in soccer, but lacrosse as well. Both girls grew up in the Baldwinsville Central School District, balancing soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. “The high school experience is much different,” Maggie said. “You grow up with you your teammates. We practically all learned to walk together. So the bond we created as friends and teammates was so tight by the time we were seniors, it was hard to say goodbye.” The girls created a sibling dynamic that worked on and off the field. Despite their truly competitive nature, the girls were able to play together without letting their spirited temperaments come between them. “Claire and Maggie bring a level of competitiveness to the team that we haven’t had before,” says Le Moyne Soccer Coach Tracy Leipold. “Their competitiveness with each other brings out the best in each other.” Their similarities are quirky. Both ladies have always been the same height and weight. They have even always had the same GPA. But these eccentricities have worked in their favor. Their similarity has led each to view the other as inspiration. Growing up, Maggie and Claire had an extremely supportive family to fall back on for support and motivation. The love for sports runs in the family’s blood with a father who played basketball. When asked if they like a specific sport more than another, both replied by saying they were born to play basketball because of their dad, even though they don’t play for the team at Le Moyne. Their older brother and sister were both proficient in sports growing up as well. Maggie even took on No. 11 for her soccer jersey since it was her brother’s number. “People sometimes joke around asking us if we can read each other’s minds,” Maggie said. They laugh at the question, but only to a certain extent. Although meant as a joke, they don’t deny feeling a connection while playing together on the field. In their sophomore year of high school, Claire and Maggie made the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. The girls enjoyed many successful seasons until disappointment hit when Claire tore her ACL at the beginning of her senior year. She was out for the rest of the soccer season as well as the winter basketball season. Having always been immersed in the action of the game, Claire was now looking in from the outside. But watching the game provided its lessons, and made her a more appreciative team member and teammate once she was healed. It was hard to say goodbye to high school, but the sadness evolved into excitement for a new chapter at Le Moyne. The girls’ plan wasn’t actually to attend the same college. Claire and Maggie were on campus to meet with (continued on page 44)

syracuseWomanMag.com :: february 2013


erin herr


claire & maggie monnat

positive and keep me going. Plus, they’ve just had such an impact on me and my love of lacrosse because they were both lacrosse coaches when I was little.”

will to be successful,” Coach Q said. “She is a tremendous student, leader and ambassador for Syracuse women’s basketball.”

the lacrosse coach and the soccer coach’s office was conveniently located next door. They decided to meet with both and were told they could play both sports. And so, the choice of where to go was easy.




Off the field, Erin’s just like any other college sophomore — she hangs out with her friends. But she’s also currently looking toward the future. As it is her last year at OCC, she has to decide where to move onto next. She’s looked at four-year colleges all over the country — from as close as her backyard (Syracuse University and SUNY Cortland) to states as far away as Ohio and Florida. And Erin’s not only considering changing her location, but her major as well. “I’m really a people person,” she admitted, “and I felt like I could be a social worker or counselor. After going to classes, though, I decided I’d rather do speech pathology or occupational therapy. I’m nervous I’ll bring issues back home with me as a social worker. But both the majors I’m looking into still allow me to work with people, just in a different way.” No matter where she ends up or what career path she decides to follow, Erin will continue to fall back on her love of lacrosse. And no matter how tough it may get sometimes, balancing practice and school and life in general, she’ll just reflect on some advice from good ole Coach MacDonald: “He always says, ‘Fake it till you make it.’ And I will.”


february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com


And like most star athletes, Lacie is not self-made. Lacie says her mother, Angela Hall, and her godsister, Yolanda King, are two women who have been most inspiring in her life. Lacie and her younger brother, Donta Sumpter, 19, “never went without,” says Lacie. While being a single mother is challenging enough, Lacie said her mother also was working to ensure Donta, diagnosed with autism, was receiving the best care. “We got through it,” Lacie said. “We’ve had so many blessings. To see where we came from to now is very inspiring.” As for Yolanda, sharing stories of both struggle and success has been another blessing in Lacie’s life. “Her being there to listen to me and tell me what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right.” Lacie said, in her genuine voice, she does not know where she would without either her mother or Yolanda. Thanks to the guidance she has received thus far, she’s sure of what it means to be the best. “You can always compare yourself to others, but you have to look at your own potential.”


College athletics brought new challenges, not only having to form new relationships with the soccer and lacrosse teams, but in the training as well. Weight training, intense conditioning and early morning workouts and meetings made the girls see how different the college sports scene would be, especially since none of these things were required of them in high school. Growing up playing sports helped the girls budget their time. And this skill quickly came in handy, especially when the teams traveled long hours for games. Claire and Maggie don’t just work hard on the field. The first academic semester was a heavy course load for both. Claire, a biology major, is hoping to go on to physician assistant school or medical school. Maggie also is taking the science route as a biology major although she might switch to chemistry. Sometimes team members who encounter hardship while competing are better equipped to manage difficulty in their everyday lives, creating fortitude in their personal growth and maturity. Being a part of sports while handling school and personal lives has prepared Claire and Maggie Monnat for leadership roles in every area of life. And more notably, they’re doing it together as sisters.

special section SWM’S March

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SWM NIGHT & TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT KOTO Can you believe it’s been two years since we started publishing Syracuse Woman Magazine? The time has surely flown by but we’ve enjoyed every second of it. On Jan. 16 we hosted more than 100 guests at Koto Japanese Steakhouse on Erie Boulevard East in Syracuse. Along with great people, food and fun, we were able to raise almost $400 toward our fundraising effort for the SWM sled team that will participate at Sled For RED on Feb. 9 to benefit AIDS Community Resources. Thank you to the Koto staff for hosting us and to all who donated to the cause. Congratulations to those who won great raffle prizes at our celebration!



A win-win for everybody took place Jan. 12 at East Syracuse-Minoa High School. The CNY Central 3-Pointers basketball team defeated the East Syracuse-Minoa teachers 40-33. CNY Central was led by reporter/anchor Tom Eschen with 12 points, sports anchor Niko Tamurian had 11. But the real winners of the evening were the charities that benefited from the funds raised. More than $1,100 was raised for the Shamrock Animal Fund, Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, and ES-M’s 3-Steps Forward Program. Both CNY Central and ES-M would like to thank all who attended and donated. february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

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COUPLES YOGA CLASS TIME: 1 to 2 PM WHAT: A unique and romantic way to reconnect with your loved one. WHERE: Fitness & Dance of CNY, 5620 Business Ave. in Cicero REGISTER: $20 per couple advance sale; $25 per Couple day of the event; (315) 480-9727 or email cnyfitness@gmail.com.


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RED WINE & CHOCOLATE DECADENCE WHEN: 7 PM WHAT: During Library After Dark, Leisha Doherty (one of our February cover women!) will be speaking about women and heart disease. Wine, chocolate, food and other treats will be served. WHERE: Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St. in Fayetteville, (315) 701.4382 COST: $10 donation at the door for the event; free childcare available. syracuseWomanMag.com :: february 2013


feature ::special


The ginormous image of him revealed itself ever so slowly — from top to bottom, magnifying every thinning hair follicle a thousand times. The man who obviously wasn’t tech savvy enough to know how to reduce file sizes, and one whom I’d been chatting with online for weeks was finally coming clean. His true confession came after we had engaged in many chats over several weeks, all while I admired his bogus photo. I had become intrigued by his sense of humor and the witty banter that went along with that gorgeous face. I suggested we meet the next time I went to New York City, which I said would be within a few weeks. He abruptly had to take another call and then…..poof! Days passed without hearing a word from him. I was perplexed so I emailed him; no response. My calls went straight to voicemail. After about 10 days, he resurfaced with a “come to Jesus” email (and that very large photo attachment.) He confessed he had never been married, didn’t have a son as he told me, and was from New Jersey, not NYC. He was not a highly successful businessman with a summer home in the Hamptons, but rather a supply salesman from Newark. He admitted he used stock photos of a father and son and lied in his profile because, ironically, he was trying to prove a point to his exgirlfriend who left him for someone she met online — point being, that all men online are deceptive and women will believe anything. That was the end of my online dating experience. I took down my profile, stepped away from my computer, and went back to the good old fashioned way of finding love — in person. And before long, I met my husband after my girlfriend introduced us at BC Restaurant. That was more than six years ago. When I think back on those wacky online dating experiences, I realize that with the advances we’ve had in technology in just the last six to eight years, I most likely would have never had to deal with such aggravation.


february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

For example, once you learn his first and last name (as long as he’s truthful) you can immediately do a quick Google search and check out his online footprint. You can also look to see if he has a Facebook page, and depending on how much access he allows his non-friends, you can gather a few details about him that may help you see him for who he really is. You can check out his professional credentials on LinkedIn or search YouTube to see if he has any all-telling videos. There’s also Instagram, Twitter and all the other social media outlets available to get a clearer picture. Imagine if I could have asked Jersey Boy to engage in Face Time, Skype or some kind of video chat. Based on the super-sized image he sent with his apology, it would have been lights out much sooner, I assure you. It may sound like I’m suggesting cyber stalking and maybe to some degree it is, but A.) He doesn’t know you’re doing it; B.) It’s YOUR time that may be getting wasted, and C.) He’s probably doing the same thing to you. Besides, these technologies are more than pathways to truths, they are smart safety measures all women should consider before agreeing to meet someone in person for the first time. Would you care to share your crazy or even amazing online dating story with other women? Do you have a few pointers for others looking for love in cyberspace? Go to www.mizmatch.wordpress.com and join the conversation! Susan Dutch is a free-lance writer, blogger and marketing professional living happily ever after with her husband, Bill, in Syracuse. Susan writes for various local and regional publications and websites on topics including health and wellness, marriage and family, business and education. You can reach her blogging about matters of the heart at www.mizmatch. wordpress.com or via email at mizmatchblog@gmail.com. Also, follow Susan on Twitter at @MizMatchBlog for more!

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Periodontal disease and heart disease may be linked as patients with history of periodontal disease are more likely to experience heart problems. The exact nature of the connection is unclear, although researchers have some theories about why patients with bad teeth are at higher risk for heart disease. In periodontal disease, a patient develops buildups of dental plaque on and around the teeth. Plaque includes bacteria, food, oral secretions and other materials, leading to inflammation in the gums. It can cause considerable discomfort as well as bad breath, difficulty eating and increased sensitivity to hot, cold and intense flavors. Patients become more susceptible to oral infections and the link between periodontal disease and heart disease may start here with bacteria and their byproducts potentially entering the bloodstream. Bacterial infections of the bloodstream can put patients at serious risk and may damage the heart. Even if this doesn’t occur, byproducts like bacterial toxins appear to trigger inflammation. Patients with periodontal

disease tend to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a compound made by the liver when inflammation is present. This suggests that periodontal disease and heart disease may have an inflammatory connection where gum disease leads to systematic inflammation and potentially puts a heavy load on the heart. However, saying that two conditions are associated is not the same as saying that one causes the other. Physicians will play a more active role in the oral systematic connection. They will screen at-risk patients for the common signs of periodontal disease, which includes bleeding gums, swollen gums, pus, shifting teeth, chronic bad breath and family history of periodontal disease. When appropriate, they will refer them to dentists and periodontists who are uniquely qualified to evaluate and treat their patient’s oral conditions. This new era of interdisciplinary dental/ medical cooperation will undoubtedly result in improved patient health, as well as an improvement in overall patient longevity. Karen Lawitts, DDS, and Nancy Yeates, DDS, have a dental practice at 100 Intrepid Lane in Syracuse. For more information about their practice, call (315) 492-8138.

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february 2013 :: syracuseWomanMag.com

A boldly designed car deserves a boldly designed world. Finally the road is safe for inspiration again. The Audi A7 is setting a whole new standard for design. Behold the dramatic profile and coupe-like styling. Notice the flawlessly crafted interior with the most advanced technology available, like the MMI® touch with handwriting recognition and navigation enhanced by Google Earth .™* It’s a car engineered with one purpose

to leave a lasting impression on the world around it.

Learn more at audiusa.com/A7. The Audi A7 is here.

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Audi A7 quattro tackles all of Central New York’s road conditions Experience the 2013 Audi Q7 today at Burdick Audi in Driver’s Village. www.burdickaudi.com *Navigation enhanced by Google Earth is an optional upgrade on some A7 models. Cellular data plan required after 6-month trial period. See dealer for details. “Audi,” “A7,” “MMI,” “Truth in Engineering,” the Audi Singleframe grille design, and the four rings logo are registered trademarks of AUDI AG. “Google Earth” is a trademark of Google Inc. ©2012 Audi of America, Inc.

Profile for Barbara McSpadden

SWM February 2013  

February is our Go Red issue in celebration of the heart.

SWM February 2013  

February is our Go Red issue in celebration of the heart.